Nationals Baseball: Snow day Cespedes thoughts

Friday, January 22, 2016

Snow day Cespedes thoughts

Quick bursts of thoughts on Cespedes

My biggest concern would be the league getting used to him. I feel like that might explain why he did great in 2012 and 2015 with the Mets but only good in between. The AL figured out how to pitch to him. If that's the case then sometime next year the NL will too and the Nats will be left with a decent hitting OF (with a power focus), on a team full of decent hitters. That's not a bad thing, but Clint Robinson is a decent hitting OF. You aren't paying Cespedes 20 million a year or so just because he has an arm.

Of course Bryce plays CF in this case, right? I mean Cespedes is proven to have his issue. You aren't sitting Werth (not for Revere to play CF) so Bryce, more of an unknown gets it. I'm not as high on Bryce in center as some are but it's better than the other options.

Does someone get traded? MAT is the obvious choice because (1) he's the worst so Nats won't play him, and (2) he's the "prospect" so other teams will want him but I'm not sure I see that. Revere is only on a one-year deal, Werth is a perennial injury risk, and MATs defense is something the Nats need. If I were Rizzo I would want MAT around if only because he'll be a cheap 4th OF for a while. Werth of course is untradeable. 40 million for a DH who may or may not play and if he does play may or may not hit? No thank you. Revere? That's probably the best bet.

Biggest thing that's being undersold with Murphy and Revere (and maybe Cespedes)? Health. They should play which means you can more rely on their projections than Werth/Zimm/Rendon. This was important in losing Desmond - a very reliable guy playing time wise.

How does he effect the clubhouse? Well I'll guess he's probably not great in the clubhouse - he has  been traded 3 times in 2 seasons and has surprisingly low FA interest. But it's the same in almost any situation. If the Nats win, which is more likely with him, they'll be fine with him (and fans will like him) if they don't win, that's when we see problems.

I don't mind 5 years covering the 30-34 seasons. That should be ok. The cost? Well we don't know 100 million would be too rich for me objectively. Subjectively of course - spend all your money.

We are mostly missing the second part of this as Donald noted - as a defensive move this matters too. Next year the competition for the NL East crown should be only the Mets, with an outside chance of the Marlins. If it's Nats or Mets then where Cespedes ends up counts double so to speak. Of course that should really only be figured as a set + for the team getting him in 2016 to be reviewed after every season.

30 comments:

sirc said...

Fyi Harper, Revere isn't a free agent until 2018. He has one more year of arbitration after 2016.

Rob Evans said...

Make it happen Nats!

Anonymous said...

Is it just me or was it obvious Cespedes wasn't signing with Nats simply from the headline "offer on table"? I haven't done any research but my sense is that mlb negotiations never move from offer on table to signed. Players get signed out of nowhere, or you hear team x player y are close to a deal. Not "offer on the table".

Zimmerman11 said...

Why are all the FAs choosing to go elsewhere when we're offering the same/more money? Is it the stink of underperformance in the postseason/the last three years? Zobrist/Heyward/Phillips(trade)/now Cespedes? Greinke before that? WTMFF! I don't even WANT Cespedes except now he doesn't wanna come here, so I'm all "why doesn't he like me". :(

John C. said...

Cheer up, Zimmerman11, the only on of those that took a similar or lesser deal than one reportedly offered by the Nationals was Zobrist - and Zobrist turned down a similar offer the Giants, too, who certainly don't have any stink of underperformance in the postseason!

What I see that has happened over and over in this postseason is that Mike Rizzo has a value that he's not willing to exceed, and is quite comfortable walking away from a negotiation that goes beyond what he thinks is good value. Which also tells me that Rizzo isn't feeling like he's on the hot seat and has to make a deal. Which is good, because that's when you make stupid deals.

Waiting on the market to come back to him got Rizzo Daniel Murphy for 3/$36M, which is (in modern baseball) a tremendous bargain. In the unlikely event that Cespedes takes 5 years/$100M, that would, again, be a tremendous bargain. Which is why I don't think it happens. It's such a bargain that Cespedes may walk away and take the one year pillow contract, or another team will beat it.

DezoPenguin said...

Well, we offered Heyward more total money (8/$200M) and he took less, but at a higher AAV (7/$184M) from the Cubs. Zobrist was a clear-cut case of he took the job he wanted, not the best contract, though. Phillips doesn't really apply, though, because he was asking to be paid for waiving his no-trade clause, which is an additional thing over and above the contract he already had with Cincy (since the years and dollars he took to sign there included the "can't ship him elsewhere" as additional consideration).

Kenny B. said...

Every moment that passes without confirmation on this deal makes me more certain that Cespedes doesn't end up here. Maybe the Mets' bigger market is a draw for him. Maybe it's the fact that on the Mets he's the superstar, while in Washington, it's likely going to be second fiddle to the reigning NL MVP. Or maybe he actually convinced himself he should have been the NL MVP, and has a weird jealousy for Harper having won it. These are all kind of dumb reasons to say no to 5 years of stability and $100 million, but some people (especially in New York) have a really irrational hatred of Bryce Harper.

Just a few of the intangibles that could impact the deal.

Zimmerman11 said...

Dezo, can't say Phillips doesn't count... if he wanted to be here, he wouldn't have asked so much for waiving the no-trade (and playing another year on a team that is clearly rebuilding).

I'll concede that the present value of the Heyward contract was not as high as the headline value... and I can't blame him (or Zobrist) for wanting to be part of breaking the curse in CHI.



SM said...

Your concern about the league getting used to Cespedes is an interesting take. In retrospect--that's somewhere near Vladivostok, I think--maybe that explains somewhat Kansas City's pitchers grinding Cespedes's bat into wood chips in last year's World Series.

But there's another consideration while trying to extrapolate Cespedes's potential offensive firepower over, say, the next 3 or 4 years. Namely: his age.

Cespedes's baseball age will be 30 in 2016, hardly old even in baseball chronology. But he broke into the majors at age 26, virtually in his prime. If he'd been 22 or 23 when he posted those stats in Oakland (139 OPS+), that would be one thing. But at 26? (That's assuming he really was 26; anyone remember Junior Felix?)

As flawed as OPS+ is--are?--by that measurement Cespedes's rookie year was better than his sensational 2015 season (combined 137 OPS+). His rookie year--in other ways, too--may very well have been the best year of his career.

Who knows how gradual or precipitous is his decline? Throw in your concern about familiarity and the reluctance of teams to offer Cespedes anything longer than a 3-year contract is entirely explicable.

Anonymous said...

lots of rumors about Cespedes being much older than 30.

could he actually be 33-35? could be.

i surely dont wanna end up with him for 5 years $100M.

he's older than you think.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. That's why it's taking so long: they're running a DNA test (or something) checking his true age.

Anonymous said...

Lol. No one wants to play for the Nats.

Anagramsci said...

The Nats definitely need another offensive piece, but Cespedes was not the answer - they've got too many .300 OBP guys as it is

Carlo Gitto said...

Now you don't have to worry yourselves.

Anonymous said...

or maybe Cespedes preferred a city with insanely passionate fans; a team that just won the pennant; and a starting rotation that's young and incredibly talented.

Froggy said...

I never thought for one second that Cedpedezzz was even remotely serious about coming to Washington. Clearly Roc Nation just used Rizzo as leverage to force the Mets hand. Does Rizzo have a 'kick me' sign taped to his back?

Does make your wonder why almost every single big name player has received essentially the highest offer from the Nats but signed elsewhere. Speaks to a bigger issue I think. Maybe Dusty can turn that perception around?

DezoPenguin said...

I certainly can't blame Cespedes for taking the Mets' offer. 3/$75 is considerably better than 5/$100 in AAV, and he'll still be 33 when it runs out, so if he doesn't completely fall off a cliff he's very likely to get *something* better than 2/$25 from whomever picks him up after that. Then when you factor in the opt-out clause, that means that if he hits like 2015 again and/or plays a better CF, he can opt out, he'll still be 31, there'll be worlds more confidence in his performance going forward, and he'll sign somewhere for 4-5 years and get capital-p Paid. In no way did we get outbid there; the only way taking the Mets deal doesn't work out for him is if he suffers a career-ending injury over the next three years or morphs into Wily Mo Pena.

Of course, now that he's a Met, I hope everyone that was pessimistic about his performance going forward was right!

sirc said...

Every time that I read on MLBTR that the Nats' pursuit of Cespedes was owner driven it made me nervous. Am I alone?

Anyway, I'm happy it's over. 27.5 million for the first year with an opt-out is probably a good deal for both parties, and it did t sound like Cespedes was interested in coming to DC.

blovy8 said...

10 million per WAR by fan graphs estimate. Seems a little crazy, but the Mets really needed him more.
He reminds me too much of Jose Guillen. Yeah, I have his jersey for some reason. I believe beer was involved.

John C. said...

With a front loaded three year $75M ($25M AAV) deal - that actually accelerates to $27.5M first year if he exercises the opt out - versus a five year $100M ($20M AAV) deal with "significant deferrals" the deals were close enough to be roughly approximate in actual value. With the kicker that the Mets deal put that up for three years versus the Nats deal over five. The Nats deal was reported to include an opt out, but the timing of the opt out is important. For a 30yo player, an opt out after three years is MUCH less valuable than an opt out after one.

David said...

I personally think Nats dodged a bullet. That is a helluva deal for the Mets though.

Risk in a player only increases with age. So even if he matches 2015, giving him a 5 year deal next year is opening up a team to way more risk than giving him that same deal this year.

Dave said...

I was about to post we dodged a bullet, but David beat me to it. This is great news.

blovy8 said...

The question is, if the Lerners okayed an offer like that, why won't they add payroll in trades during the season?

VI said...

@blovy8...you need a primer on WAR. The 2.3 WAR you appear to refer to is computed for only the 2 months he was a Met. The 250 or so NL AB are artificially deflating his value. There are better offensive metrics, and they indicate fair market value, which means the Mets got a good deal if he rides the normal performance degradation curve post age 32. That is, they may avoid being stuck with a Werth at the back end.

blovy8 said...

VI - I guess you need a primer on projections. 27.5 millon for a Steamer projection of 2.7 WAR for 2016 what I am using

VI said...

blovy8... Then you need a projection not based on fortune telling. That same projection predicts a 100 point drop in OPS and a 30 point drop in BABIP. In fact, a number of key metrics call for him to fall back to rookie year comparables. Not credible.

But I guess it draws an audience.

blovy8 said...

Steamer is roughly the same as zips, pecota, cairo, oliver, rotochamp,etc in its accuracy. Not very, but it's a starting point, and while I'm pretty sure most would assume 3.5 to 4 WAR as a guess, there is the potential for him to be more like 2013-2014 too. Harper, I'm not sold on the league adjustment notion, because he was having a good year before the trade.



DezoPenguin said...

Projection systems, by their very nature, always lag behind sharp increases or decreases in performance level. When a player finally "gets it" (say, Jose Bautista with the Blue Jays), the projection systems won't--because they can't--be aware that the player has genuinely increased (or reached) their true talent level. Similarly, when someone pulls a Lincecum and falls off a cliff, they expect bounce-back. (None of this gets into fluky outliers, like a BABIP-driven high batting average or a Chris Youngian ability to keep one's HR/FB ratio well below league levels.) Steamer thinks Bryce will put up 6.6 WAR, for example, but Trout 8.9. That's 'cause Trout's been great for four years straight.

Anagramsci said...

I don't see how anyone can watch Cespedes and not worry that he doesn't have more .240/.294/.442 and .260/.301/.450 slash lines up his bat. He's not so different from Ian Desmond, really. Of course, he might repeat something close to 2015 (or Desmond's 2012). Either way, he's a more useful hitter than Ben Revere, and definitely a better defensive player, so at the very least he would have helped to ensure that Revere isn't leading off every damn game, but there have to be better options out there (and options that address the lineup's needs more directly - i.e. someone beside Harper and *if he's healthy and not aged out* Werth who can actually get on base).

Zimmerman11 said...


hey some good news...